March 2. 1809.
The observations are but too just which are made in your friendly address on the origin & progress of those abuses of public confidence & power which have so often terminated in a suppression of the rights of the people, & the mere aggrandizement & emolument of their oppressors. taught by these truths and aware of the tendency of power to degenerate into abuse, the worthies of our own Country have secured it’s independence by the establishment of a Constitution & form of Government for our nation calculated to prevent as well as to correct abuse.
Beyond the great water the torch of discord has been long lighted up, & long and unremitting have been the endeavors of the belligerents to immerge us in the evils they were inflicting on each other, and to make us parties in their quarrels. Whether it will be possible much longer to escape these evils, is difficult to decide: but you do me justice in believing that no efforts on my part have been spared to effect this purpose & to preserve for our nation the blessings of peace.
I learn with sincere pleasure that the measures I have pursued in directing the affairs of our nation have met with approbation. their sole object has certainly been the good of my fellow Citizens, which sometimes may have been mistaken, but never intentionally disregarded. this approbation is the more valued as being the Spontaneous effusion of the feelings of those who have lived in the same City with my self & having examined carefully & even jealously my conduct though every passing day, bear testimony to their belief in it’s fidelity.
I am happy, in my retirement, to carry with me your esteem & your prayers for my health, peace, & happiness: & I sincerely supplicate Heaven that your own personal welfare may long make a part of the general prosperity of a great, a free & a happy people.
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.